A one-two for Maranello and bitter defeat for McLaren Mercedes in the Eifel mountains

On Thursday before the 2004 European Grand Prix FIAT magnate Umberto Agnelli, who had taken over his office only about one year ago from his older brother Gianni (Ferrari F2003 GA), had died of cancer in the age of only 69. The whole Ferrari team came to the Nuerburgring wearing black ribbons. For this reason there was also no champagne shower for the impressing one-two victory of Michael Schumacher (on a 3 stop strategy) and Rubens Barrichello (two stops). "We are dedicating this victory to Umberto Agnelli, a man, who had always supported Ferrari," said Michael Schumacher in the post-race press conference. On Sunday also the current Ferrari president Dr Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was appointed new FIAT chairman as the successor of Agnelli. Dr di Montezemolo, Italy´s most powerful industrialist, is a close friend of the Agnelli dynasty, his appointment makes clear, that the family is willing to keep their influence on the troubled carmaker group consisting of FIAT, Ferrari, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. At the Nuerburgring rumours were heard from reliable sources, that Dr di Montezemolo is to be replaced by Ferrari´s head of sports, Jean Todt, whose office should go to technical director Ross Brawn.

The nights in the Eifel mountains were bitter cold not only for the armies of fans in their tents and caravans, but also for McLaren Mercedes at their 70th anniversary of the Silver Arrows. For the first time in 2004 the McLarens seemed to be competitive, quick enough and on the right strategy, but three blown engines (Coulthard during qualifying, Kimi and again DC in the race) made their dreams of better times become big clouds of smoke. At least Kimi Raikkonen was able to be fastest in Friday´s second free practice session and to take the lead for a short while during Michael Schumacher´s first pit stop (the other drivers temporarily leading were Alonso, Sato and later Barrichello). The B-version of the McLaren Mercedes MP4/19 will have it´s roll out in the first week of June. At Williams BMW Patrick Head had retired into the role of an elder statesman to hand over the position of a technical director to Australian engineer Sam Michael. The white and blue team from Grove was confronted with the nightmare of both their cars colliding at the Nuerburgring. In the first corner Juan Pablo Montoya had rammed his team mate Ralf Schumacher taking Cristiano da Matta´s Toyota with him into the gravel trap with both damaged cars out of the race shortly after the start. The German, meanwhile a perfect diplomat: " Montoya hadn´t done it with intent. You should not overvalue such a situation." Both the Renaults of Jarno Trulli (again a start like a bullet) and Fernando Alonso managed to come home into the points. BAR Honda´s Jenson Button finished on the podium for the fifth time in 2004, but he was not able to challenge the superior Ferraris really being some 22 seconds behind them when the chequered flag came out. Japanese Takuma Sato, Jenson´s team mate, had scored grid position number two as the first ever driver from the land of the rising sun. During the closing period of the race Sato gave Barrichello a fierce battle for second place, he overtook the Brazilian in a spectacular manner in the first corner ahead of the new Mercedes arena, but both cars touched each other. While the BAR Honda had to come in for replacing it´s damaged front wing, the Ferrari was able to stay out with a defect right deflector. "The handling had become very strange," said Barrichello later during the press conference. Two laps later Sato´s engine exploded as it had done before at Monaco on the start and finish straight. The Nuerburgring also brought valuable championship points for Jaguar´s Mark Webber and Sauber´s Giancarlo Fisichella (also a defect engine during free practice).

A new qualifying format (60 minutes, with two sessions of 20 minutes for six laps of each driver on empty fuel tanks and best lap times to be added with a break of also 20 minutes in the middle) is suggested to be introduced for the British Grand Prix in July to replace the silly version of today. Hope it will come true, what you never know in Formula One. At Mercedes-Benz Dr Werner Laurenz is released from his duties as the head of the Formula One engine programme to get other tasks within the carmaker group. Niki Lauda, once Austria´s worst performance pupil, plays the role of a teacher in a television spot for Superfund Quadriga, his personal sponsors and also backers of the Minardi team. Lauda, standing at the blackboard in front of the class: "Today we are learning how to earn money." Niki knows it, I am absolutely sure.

Jutta Schmitt



Starting Grid

1 M Schumacher 1:28.351

2 T Sato 1:28.986

3 J Trulli 1:29.135

4 K Raikkonen 1:19.137

5 J Button 1:29.245

6 F Alonso 1:29.313

7 R Barrichelllo 1:.353

8 JP Montoya 1:29.354

9 R Schumacher 1:29.459

10 O Panis 1:29.697

11 C da Matta 1:29.697

12 C Klien 1:31.431

13 N Heidfeld 1:31..604

14 M Webber 1:31.797

15 G Pantano 1:31.979

16 F Massa 1:31.982

17 G Bruni 1:34.022

18 Z Baumgartner 1:34.398

19 D Coulthard no time

20 G Fisichella no time



2004 Allianz Grand Prix of Europe, Nuerburgring, Germany, 60 Laps á 5.148 km = 308.863 km, Weather: Air 21°C Track 37°C Humidity 32%

1 M Schumacher 1:32:35.101

2 R Barrichello +17.989

3 J Button +22.533

4 J Trulli +53.673

5 F Alonso +1:00.987

6 Fisichella +1:13.448

7 M Webber +1:16.206

8 JP Montoya +1 Laps

9 F Massa +1

10 N Heidfeld +1

11 O Panis +1

12 C Klien +1

13 G Pantano +2 Laps

14 G Bruni +3

15 Z Baumgartner +3



T Sato, Lap 48: Engine

D Coulthard, 26: Engine

K Raikkonen, 10: Engine

R Schumacher, 1: Accident

C da Matta: 1: Accident


Fastest Lap

M Schumacher, 1:29.468 (Lap 7)


Worldchampionship Standings


1 M Schumacher 60

2 R Barrichello 46

3 J Button 38

4 J Trulli 36

5 F Alonso 25

6 JP Montoya 24

7 R Schumacher 12

8 T Sato 8

9 F Massa 5

10 G Fisichella 5

11 D Coulthard 4

12 C da Matta 3

13 M Webber 3

14 N Heidfeld 2

15 K Raikkonen 1

16 O Panis 1



1 Ferrari 106

2 Renault 61

3 BAR Honda 46

4 Williams BMW 36

5 Sauber Petronas 10

6 McLaren Mercedes 5

7 Toyota 4

8 Jaguar Cosworth 3

9 Jordan Ford 2




The Schlegelmilch images on this page are brought to you by kind permission of Schlegelmilch Photography .


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Michael Schumacher/D (Ferrari F2004)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Juan Pablo Montoya/COL (Williams BMW FW26)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Cristiano da Matta/BR (Toyota TF104)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Anthony Davidson/GB (BAR Honda 006)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

David Coulthard/GB (McLaren Mercedes MP4/19)


© by Schlegelmilch Photography

Jarno Trulli/I (Renault R24)



Additional photos © Sutton Images, graphics by project * 2000


© 2004 by researchracing


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